The James Webb Space Telescope's ability to probe galaxies at infrared wavelengths in great detail has led to an unprecedented view of Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs). ULIRGs are the brightest objects in the nearby universe, glowing with the light of hundreds of trillions of stars. This extreme brightness is caused by the mergers of Milky Way-sized galaxies that produce an intense burst of star formation and black hole growth. Rich will discuss the discoveries that the Webb Telescope observations of ULIRGs have yielded, and how these will lead to a new understanding of supermassive black holes, massive star clusters, and changes in the interstellar medium.

Jeffrey Rich

Speaker Bio

Jeff Rich researches the processes that shape galaxy evolution and formation, primarily through detailed observational studies of galaxies in the nearby universe. As a member of the Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey (GOALS) team, Rich uses multiwavelength data and integral field spectroscopy to trace the impact of merger-driven gas flow on star formation and supermassive black hole growth. He has also helped construct large maps of the interstellar gas and its physical properties in very nearby galaxies using data from the du Pont telescope as part of the Typhoon project. He is also interested in developing and calibrating techniques used to measure the physical properties of the interstellar medium in distant galaxies.